Calling the Calangute panchayat out for skipping a mandatory gram sabha last month, the President of Calangute Citizens Forum and a gram sabha member, Premanand Diukar, has sought postponement of the gram sabha fixed on April 11 on account of incomplete agenda and the sudden spike in Covid cases.
Stating that the gram sabha has been fixed without application of the mind and against the guidelines of the Goa Panchayat Raj Act 1994, Diukar said the sarpanch sought to present, read and approve the budget for 2021-22 at the gram sabha without discussing the annual statement of accounts, administrative and the audit report.
“Subsection 1 of Section 6 of the Goa Panchayat Raj Act 1994 clearly states that the sarpanch shall place before the gram sabha for its approval the annual statement of accounts, annual administrative report, last audit report and proposal for fresh taxation. On what basis will the budget be prepared if all the above documents are not in place,” Diukar said in a representation made to the sarpanch/secretary.
Copies of the representation have also been circulated to the Panchayat Minister, Director of Panchayats, BDO, Chief Secretary and the health department.
Pointing out that his representation was in the interest of the village and the villagers who are taxpayers, Diukar demanded that the missing points may be incorporated in the agenda and accordingly re-schedule the gram sabha.
He further informed that the BDO had directed all panchayats in Bardez to hold gram sabhas on February 28 but the Calangute panchayat failed to do so.
“What is the reason or emergency to hold a gram sabha now when the Covid cases are on the rise?” he queried.
Further taking objection to point 3 of the agenda which says “to discuss proposals received from members of gram sabha on development works only”, Diukar said it was a constitutional right of a gram sabha member to seek information or clarification on any matters arising in the gram sabha.
“As per the Goa Panchayat Gram Sabha rules 1996, rule no 10(1) a gram sabha member may place any proposal which he desires before the meeting of gram sabha and which may only be rejected on the grounds as prescribed in the Act. Nowhere in the Goa Panchayat Raj Act 1994 it is mentioned that proposals on development work only will be taken up for discussion,” he countered.